Named one of the writers to watch in Book magazine's special "Newcomers" issue, ZZ Packer is quickly becoming known as a literary wunderkind with a talent for writing short fiction that goes a long way, as is evident in her debut collection, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere.
Read the interview
Also Known As:
Zuwena Packer (birth name)
Date of Birth:
January 12, 1973
Place of Birth:
B.A., Yale University, 1994; M.A., Johns Hopkins University, 1995; M.F.A., University of Iowa, 1999
Rona Jaffe Writers Foundation Grant, 1997; Ms. Giles Whiting Award, 1999; Bellingham Review Award for the short story “Brownies,” 1999
|Our Book Club Pick|
|Drinking Coffee Elsewhere|
In Packer's debut collection of short fiction, settings range from a racially divided Girl Scout camp to the Million Man March on Washington to a bohemian expedition in Japan. In each case, Packer's vivid vignettes capture poignant slices of very different lives. As The New York Times Book Review observed, "Young writers, naturally enough, write about young characters. Drinking Coffee Elsewhere is not really limited by this. Instead, there is a sense of a talented writer testing and pushing at those limits, ringing as many changes as possible within her fictional world. It is a world already populated by clamoring, sorrowing, eminently knowable people, and with the promise of more to come."
More Book Club Picks
|In her interview for their special "Newcomers" issue, Packer told Book magazine that a recurring theme of her life -- and her stories -- is a feeling of not belonging. "Someone, I don't remember who, said, 'I always write about my own experience, even if it never happened to me,' " Packer reflects. "And that's how I feel."|
|Early Inspiration||Favorite Writers and Reads|
"Few living authors are able to write in such a way as to give me the shivers," Packer observed in her interview with Barnes & Noble.com. "I loved The Bluest Eye, but it was only while reading Beloved that I knew without a doubt that I was in the presence of greatness."
|The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn|
On her list of all-time favorite books, Packer included Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn ("funny, sad, irreverent, and most of all, a good read") and Michael Cunningham's The Hours ("How long had it been since anything made me stay up all night and read to the very end?"). Read our interview to find out more about Packer's favorite writers and reads, including:
|Photo by Hank Thomas||